Lucy's experience - Combining childminding with a first aid business

Working in childcare means you always have to keep an eye out for business opportunities and be prepared to be flexible. Coping with Covid has been the ultimate test for childminders – we’ve had to find ways to make our businesses work for us, and stay cheerful and positive so that we provide the very best care we can to our children.

I’ve been a childminder for six years and before that I was a manager of a supermarket. When my children came along I needed something that gave me a better work-life balance – it’s no fun when you have to miss out on Easter and Christmas with your children! Childminding was the perfect solution and I had a full setting with 32 children and two assistants.

When as a family we decide to make the move to Cambridgeshire, I had to think again as I knew it would take a while to build up my business. We now live in a very rural setting, so I knew my childminding business needed a different model than before.

My idea was to set up a First Aid business using the skills I had already started to develop through the paediatric first aid qualification I had as a childminder. I have a Level 4 First Aid qualification which means that I can teach others. This has been a really flexible option for me. I started off thinking I’d focus on parents and grandparents who wanted to know some essential first aid techniques to keep their children safe, but actually the opportunities just grew from there.

I train childminders as well as run training sessions for teachers in schools. I’ve had to make some significant adaptations to my business model because of Covid-19. Now I can no longer bring larger groups together, I’ve focused on training small groups of childminders with their assistants. It means that they can practice the techniques on each other, working within Covid-guidelines – and it has also saved me the cost of hiring a local hall for the training. I have prepared a video which I show which demonstrates the recovery position and I have bought enough mannequins so that everyone can have their own for CPD– and of course I make sure it’s all cleaned down afterwards.

I’ve had great feedback from my clients. I’ve been fortunate that my local childminding development officer has recommended me to childminders locally and I seem to be picking up business through my social media pages as well as through leaflets that I distribute locally.

I can see me developing my first aid business alongside my childminding. I’ve really enjoyed the contact with adults. Childminding can sometimes feel quite isolating – particularly when you live outside of a large town. Covid has made us all think about our business sustainability in a different way. Both my childminding and first aid businesses have been affected by Covid as I had to close them down through lockdown. But having the two income streams has been really beneficial. When times are tough that gives me reassurance and optimism for the future.